NIMH Bipolar Disorder

“Bipolar Disorder, also known as Manic Depressive Illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Symptoms of  Bipolar Disorder are severe. They are different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time. Bipolar Disorder symptoms can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide. But Bipolar Disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives.

Bipolar Disorder often develops in a person’s late teens or early adult years. At least half of all cases start before age 25. Some people have their first symptoms during childhood, while others may develop symptoms late in life.

Bipolar Disorder is not easy to spot when it starts. The symptoms may seem like separate problems, not recognized as parts of a larger problem. Some people suffer for years before they are properly diagnosed and treated. Like diabetes or heart disease, bipolar disorder is a long-term illness that must be carefully managed throughout a person’s life.” ~ Sited from NIMH

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I would like to start off by saying I do not think the name “Bipolar Disorder” does justice to the illness… and almost seems to belittle the disorder, and make it seem less significant in relation to other mental health disorders. Manic Depressive Illness is a much better description of the disorder, thereby being a more appropriate term/name as a whole. Manic alone is a single word offering a very precise description, as is the word Depressive. Therefor, Manic Depressive is less confusing, more blunt and to the point, with a certain er of importance and respect. Some people think “bipolar” simply means you have two sides to your personality, two “you’s” so-to-speak… and this thought process is incorrect on many fronts.

The chronological order of my documented personal illness began in the year 2000, where I spent five minutes with a Psychiatrist who then prescribed medication for Major Depression. In hindsight, this diagnosis was incorrect as I was already experiencing rapid cycling, and hypo-mania. Five minutes is NOT enough time to assess a patient with any type of Doctor. After many life changing events: divorce, not having custody of my children, and the final blow of an Ex’s suicide, my diagnosis was upgraded to Bipolar 2 Disorder (in 2003), along with the normal “piggybackers” anxiety, and insomnia. However, all of this fell on deaf ears as I refused to believe anything was wrong… and of course, I did not continue with therapy of any kind. Pharmaceutical or otherwise.

I finally had some reprieve for a couple years, and felt somewhat well, and what little medication I would take from time to time, I discontinued completely. Then in 2007 I became manic, depressed, anxious, psychosomatic, suffered brutal panic attacks, and became paranoid I would die in my sleep. Can you imagine how my world flipped upside down?? Sleep was suddenly terrifying… it became a monster out to get me, and no matter what I tried to do, no matter how exhausted I became, sleep totally eluded me. Each time I would lie down to sleep, as my body would drift off, when I would suddenly have a jerking motion, I would wake up completely, thinking I had just jerked awake preventing myself from slipping into death. This paranoia became my downfall. This paranoia caused me to make very poor choices, ending my 2nd marriage, and because of circumstances out of my control, I once again did not have custody of my children. Alas, prompting the next diagnosis of Bipolar 1 with Psychosis.

This nearly destroyed me, I felt like I was going to break at any moment… a break in which I could not come back from. It took accepting I was Manic Depressive, accepting therapy, accepting medication, accepting that even-though I wanted my children with me more than anything in the world, I had to accept that they were healthy, and happy with their Fathers, and I had to accept that I needed to work on myself so I could be the Mom they needed of me.

Education is so important. I am not speaking of the kind from a college, but rather of life and learning about your true self, and educating yourself about the challenges we all have. Learn about mental health issues, and then share that knowledge! This is insanely important to do. Not only are we helping ourselves, but we are helping others in doing this as well.

Lets start discussing mental health… open a dialogue with all those you know. This will help with the stigma associated with it. Personally, I have learned to be a chameleon… I can throw that happy face on faster than anything else I can do… I believe most of us are very good at that. Why?? So nobody can see the storm raging within.

If you love someone with mental health problems… keep looking for that storm. After-all, nobody wants to suffer… and I think we all would welcome the anchor that you have the potential to become… I know I certainly would.

©thebipolarmuse2018

 

How Is It Fair??

birdsDarkness

How is it fair?

I never knew I would love…

Dream, or Breathe,

The way I do You.

Can I sleep in peace?

I never knew I would hope,

Cry, or pray for dreamless nights,

The way I do because of you.

How is it Fair…

To be buried above ground,

where sadness surrounds,

And to be uncomfortable in your own skin?

How is it fair…

You’re buried six feet down.

Sleeping so peaceful, so sound…

And I can’t be found in the world

You are in?

How is it fair??

©thebipolarmuse2003

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** Written many many years ago after the death of my ex-boyfriend, Fiance at one point in time… by his own hand.

Suicide is NEVER the answer. If you or someone you know are contemplating suicide, please reach out for help. Suicide hotlines offer a caring ear, and also have many resources to direct one in the right direction for help. You are not alone in your feelings… remember, this too shall pass and suicide is a permanent, destructive choice that cannot be taken back. Seek help. Choose life. ♥

Call 1-800-273-8255 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

When The Sh*t Hits The Fan

alone

When two people with mental health issues live together, certain challenges present themselves and add to the difficulties already present. I myself have a diagnosis of Bipolar 1 (along with several co-morbid “buddies” that often go hand in hand with said disorder), and the man I am dedicated to in life is diagnosed with bipolar (along with other co-morbid “buddies” as well), but the kicker is the diagnosis of “Intermittent Explosive Disorder”. I will do another post soon about that specific disorder, but lets just say that it  is a brutal issue to combat. It turns the man I love with all my soul into someone I don’t recognize. Not only that, but I am treated as though I am nobody special, even less than strangers. In fact, during an episode… I am spoken to with what sounds like loathing and fervent rage, but if a neighbor, or someone else comes along, they are spoken to with kindness and respect… something foreign to the way I am treated during these IED (Intermittent Explosive Disorder) moments.

It is a very lonely place to be when the anger is directed at you simply because you are the person closest. Even if he is trying with all his strength NOT to lash out at me (which I know is exactly what he is concentrating on), it is very lonely to be on my end of it. While he is trying to battle his anxiety, and his automatic “this is a disaster” thought process, he is completely incapable of offering help or suggestions, nor demonstrate any type of loving, supportive gestures to help encourage me as I do all I can to rectify the situation.

Yet…  I still help my man to my fullest capacity, and attempt to support him. I do all I can to fix the problem without turning it into some horrible difficult issue… I remain calm, cool, and collected, trying to keep him informed of what I am doing to fix the situation.  Even if his tone of voice is derogatory, or he emanates anger… I do all I can to help, reminding myself that this isn’t the “true” him, and he is fighting to come back to who he truly is.

Though I know this isn’t him per say, it still hurts… I still feel as though I am wilting away. I try to be a step ahead so I can predict what is needed… and I do it for him without hesitation… all the while, tears flood my eyes, and I keep my head low to hide them. They are a sign of weakness to him when he is this person… so I keep silent, don’t argue, stay busy, put on that loving smile I am great at wearing, and I keep my head down…

All the while, somehow, in someway…

I am breaking.

Knowing full well that when things come full circle,

He will return full of love and grace, and his loving embrace will encompass me…

And what once felt broken…

He will make whole… and then I am home.

©thebipolarmuse 2018